Rhode Island has become the first state in the country to pass a Homeless Bill of Rights. The law passed with the overwhelming support of both houses of the Rhode Island state legislature. It may offer new hope to homeless people who suffer unequal treatment from police and government officials.
In voting to place this discriminatory sitting ban on the November ballot, the Berkeley City Council has betrayed the very concept of equal rights for all. Laws that banish certain groups of people from public spaces — whether based on appearance, economic class, or race — are modern-day segregation decrees, plain and simple.